So Vile a Sin
Roots: The title is taken from Act II, scene 4 of Shakespeare's Henry V. There is a quotation from Macbeth. One of the books in the library at Kibero is Listen to the Song I Sing by Baldrick (a Blackadder Goes Fourth joke). There are references to Scheherazade, Sainsbury's, Disneyland, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Einstein, Lichtenstein, and Jimmy Stewart.
Dialogue Triumphs: "Finished? We'll never be finished, Doctor, because you owe me. So you can threaten Bernice and Dorothee, you can show your human side for the cameras, but I know. That history kills people and sometimes even you can't save them. So you owe me for this, for my family, for the children of the angry man and for the ones that died in the slave ships and mines and all the others you couldn't save at the time."
Continuity: The Doctor claims that the Time Lords were the first sentient beings in this universe [he's lying - see Falls the Shadow and Christmas on a Rational Planet]. In the early days of the universe, science and magick both existed in the universe, but magick predominated until Rassilon made a decision to rationalize the universe (see Christmas on a Rational Planet). Magick was banished from the Universe, but survived in various "cracks and bubbles". Psi is the last magick to survive, because it is the least impossible and the closest to science. The residue of psi became a network of ley lines stretching through the Universe. Because some of the irrational denizens of the Universe objected to the Time Lords' rationalizing it, the Time Lords turned the psi lines into weapons. They turned the psi lines into a Distant Early Warning line that stretched through the Universe studded with receivers. These vast receivers were disguised as mountains or even small moons, including Iphigenia. The receivers form nexus points on the ley lines, primary sources of unimaginable psi power, where everything that is possible is potentially waiting to be unleashed. Exposure to the Nexus on Iphigenia releases almost every potential possibility of the Doctor's existence. Time Lord technology hasn't significantly altered in ten million years, existing Time Lord technology merely being a refinement of past technology. An N-Form is released on Iphigenia by the Nexus and leaves an N-Gram in the mind of a member of an expedition to the planet. The N-Form is aware of what happened to its sibling (Damaged Goods), but notes that its sibling was a damaged unit whereas it is fully functional and therefore unlikely to make mistakes, just before Roz crushes it beneath a one million ton mass of dwarf star alloy. The N-Forms are effectively psychic mines, detecting and attacking sources of psi. There is another Nexus on Mimas.
The outermost planet of the Agamemnon system is Cassandra. It is actually an ancient damaged TARDIS left over from the Great War, which shut down to conserve energy after ten thousand years of misuse. After it was damaged and its crew was killed, it became trapped by Agamemnon's gravity and has been orbiting ever since. It has been in the Agamemnon system for ten million years. The Doctor notes that the Real World Interface of these early TARDISes was rather unstable. This TARDIS contains the skeleton of a Great Vampire (State of Decay, Blood Harvest). Its vast size is due to the fact that it was designed to carry bow-ships. It has been sending out a distress signal in a tight beam, which is supposed to be aimed at a specific base, but due to Cassandra's erratic orbit it constantly changes direction. Whenever the beam passes within range of a surviving N-Form (Damaged Goods) it reactivates it; it is also passing through time erratically, and reactivated the N-Form on Earth in 1987 (Damaged Goods). The Doctor switches off its beam and activates its self-destruct mechanism.
The Brotherhood is still active by 2981. It takes control of the Nexus on Mimas, planning to activate psychic abilities in everyone in the solar system. It believes that the Doctor can help them control the Nexus. It is run by the new Grandmaster, a gestalt of twenty-eight telepaths that has existed for a considerable length of time; when any of the twenty-eight bodies die, the gestalt recruits a new one. The Brotherhood realized that it needed to become proactive when the N-Form tried to wipe out psis on Earth in 1987 (Damaged Goods). It created GRUMPY as part of an experiment to learn how to make people telepathic, but abandoned the SLEEPY virus when the Doctor and his companions found a cure.
The Empress of the Earth Empire is kept alive by a life-support tank, and has no voice of her own, instead speaking through machinery using clips of other people's voices from various media sources. Her full name and title is Helen the First, Divine Empress Gloriana, Ruler of the High Court, Lord of the Inner and Outer Worlds, High Admiral of the Galactic Fleets, Lord General of the Six Armies and Defender of the Earth. Her surname was Kristiansen. She has been following the Doctor's movements for centuries, from odd sightings, military reports and other sources. Her brain is slaved to Centcomp, which effectively runs her Empire. She is centuries old and possesses the memories of every President of Earth. The Doctor describes her as "an insane, genocidal lunatic whose random word can kill a million people". Because he works alone, and has no allegiance to any faction, she realises that the Doctor is the perfect assassin, since he can kill her without ripping the Empire apart. Agreeing to her request to kill her, he smashes her life-support tank with a fire extinguisher; as it collapses, her ancient fragile body is torn apart by the shards of plastic.
The Doctor has a heart attack at Roz's funeral. The Doctor created an AI called the Flying Dutchman, which he designed in a hurry from old clichés; it therefore talks like a stereotypical pirate, complete with crutches and huge red beard. It appears to be accompanied by the silver cat from theCat's Cradle trilogy. The Doctor wears a tweed jacket. The Doctor's body contains nanites. Death appears to him after Roz's funeral and reminds him that his seventh incarnation will die without warning, without purpose, afraid and alone (The TV Movie). When the Nexus releases almost every potential possibility of the Doctor, some of them found places to settle; an alternate version of the Third Doctor lives in an old house with a garden in the Undertown [probably the Doctor's house in Kent]. He decided to remain on Earth after his exile. In his reality, the Ice Warriors invaded in 2010 and the Doctor surrendered on Earth's behalf. The Ice Warriors ruled peacefully, and technically own the Empire; they have fought off Rutans and Daleks, leaving the humans and Earth Reptiles to their own devices. Earth became a nature reserve and the human race shunned war, spending all its time on other pastimes including cooking. This alternate Doctor has been on Earth for one thousand years without regenerating and is now in a wheelchair. He has a Venusian house guest (Venusian Lullaby). This Doctor is aware that he is a copy of the "real" Doctor and cites other examples, including one alternative who was killed by the Earth Reptiles (Blood Heat) and one who became a dictator with his poster plastered everywhere (the Doctor who ruled the parallel Earth from Inferno, as described in Love and War). Other alternative Doctors released by the Nexus on Mimas include one who never visited Androzani (The Caves of Androzani), one who was worshipped as a god on Lalande 21185 and had to settle there to stop the incessant religious wars, one whose brain was fried by a computer whilst substituting for a dead synch-op (Warriors of the Deep), one who was beheaded by an Ice Warrior (Legacy), and one who returned to Gallifrey and organized a bloodless revolution. Another was stranded on Earth during the Eocene era and worked in an Earth Reptile laboratory, another lived in another dimension and visited earth occasionally starting rumours that King Arthur was about to return (Battlefield), and another is alive and well living with his wife in San Francisco (The TV Movie). Another was quick enough to save Adric (Earthshock), another arrived thirty seconds before Oscar Botcherby was killed instead of thirty seconds afterwards (The Two Doctors), and another managed to save Jan and everyone else (Love and War).
Roz dies on Mars on 28th August 2982, leading her sister's forces into battle against the army of Emperor Walid as part of Leabie's revolution. Roz is buried in the Umtata Reclamation Zone in Africa, on 1st September 2982. She is buried wrapped in a prepared animal skin called a kaross. She is buried near her niece and nephew (see below). Chris wears full Adjudicator uniform for the occasion. Bernice and Jason also attend. Also present are a group of Ogrons and Earth Reptiles. Roz's sister is Lady Leabie Susan Inyathi Forrester, fifteenth Baroness of Io. Io is the only Galilean moon never to have been terraformed and the only one to fall within the fiefdom of baronetcy. Kibero Patera consists of a castle and surrounding forests, protected from the atmosphere of Io by a huge dome. The Forrester family sigil is azure and blood-red. The fifth Baron built the palace in 2870. The palace has four hundred storeys and a thirty-kilometre circumference at its base. The grounds are filled with Terran animal species from before the Dalek invasion (The Dalek Invasion of Earth), which were grown up from a genebank. Leabie's youngest daughter is called Thandiwe, and her oldest daughter Gugwani. Her other two children are a son, Somezi, and another daughter, Mantsebo. A psi monster kills Somazi and Mantsebo. Thandiwe is actually a clone of Roz. Roz was legally declared dead a year after her disappearance (Original Sin). As a result of the change to the time lines caused by the Doctor saving Yemaya in SLEEPY, Yemayan Strikes have always been Roz's cigarette brand of choice. Roz adopts the alias Sarah McShane, a combination of her false middle name (Christmas on a Rational Planet) and Ace's surname (Set Piece). Alternate time lines remembered by the Doctor after his experiences on Isphigenia include one in which Roz was killed by her other self in Woodwicke (Christmas on a Rational Planet), one in which she stayed in 1941 and married George Reed (Just War), and one in which she is the head of the Order of Adjudicators. Following her death, Benny and Chris clear her room in the TARDIS out, finding a couple of issues of Badge and Bust, a huge metal cabinet full of guns, half a dozen pairs of boots (carefully cleaned), and several dresses including a nineteen-forties style wedding dress (Just War). Following the defeat of the Brotherhood and the death of Duke Walid, Leabie becomes Empress.
Chris's eulogy for Roz is originally a four thousand word long essay. Chris listens to the Communards, because they remind him of David Daniels. He used to watch Lifestyles of the Obscenely Wealthy.
The TARDIS has several libraries. All TARDISes have a self-destruct device.
Kadiatu Lethbridge-Stewart arrives several days after Roz's funeral and forces the Doctor to admit that he can't cope with Roz's death because there is nobody to take revenge on; Roz's death was a result of her own choices. Kadiatu implies that she will become the Ka Faraq Gatri when the Doctor dies.
Ogrons eat human corpses (see Toy Soldiers). Their home planet is named Orestes [by the Empire - the Ogrons name for it is Braah (see The Romance of Crime, Mission: Impractical)]. Orestes is a moon of the gas giant Clytemnestra, as are Aegisthus, Electra and Iphigenia. Clytemnestra itself orbits Agamemnon. The Earth Empire has colonized both Aegisthus and Orestes. Aegisthus is tidally locked. Aegisthus is airless and is the location of an Imperial military base, Fury city. There is an ongoing war on Orestes as the Ogrons fight their Imperial oppressors; the war started in 2976. Ogron matrons sing songs of their lost sons who vanished years ago with the metal gods (Daleks); the Empire strictly forbids such songs. The Empire killed all the orange Ogron-eating monsters (Frontier in Space). To cater for human tastes, some female Ogrons were genetically engineered to become mute pygmies who work as prostitutes. The Ogrons refer to the Sontarans as "All-the-sames". Ogron names include Son of My Father and His Sister's Son. Iphigenia has 0.09 gravity.
Sixty percent of FLORANCE's consciousness is scattered around in various hardware locations on over a dozen planets, moons and space installations. It keeps a continuous sublight datafeed in the form of a huge maser built on a moon of Castari, which beams a digitally modulated signal to a receiving station orbiting Arcturus (The Curse of Peladon). Another thirty percent is semi-autonomous, doing the lecture circuit and making personal appearances at the Institute Fantastique on Yemaya 4. Occasionally, one of these parts separates off and creates a new identity for itself; these are usually isolated and destroyed by the Bureau of Cybernetic Control. The remaining ten percent does most of the thinking and moves constantly around the datascape.
Imperial Landsknechte ranks include unteromizer, feldwebel and stabsfeldwebel. Adjudicators and members of the Imperial Landsknechte and Imperial Bureaucracy are required to forswear their family titles as a supposed measure to prevent the aristocracy becoming too powerful. Only officers of the Imperial Space Navy are allowed to retain their titles. Adjudicators in training take a course entitled Practical Xenoculture for Adjudicators. A comet is dropped onto Purgatory (Original Sin).
The Lament of the Non-Operational is a Dalek poem translated by Fitzgerald and forbidden by the Empire.
Alien races mentioned here include the Falardi (Original Sin) and Qinks, both of whom have esoteric tastes in weapons. Qinks are squat non-humanoids, asymmetrical with five arms. They have a stumpy round brain case on the end of a muscular column protruding from their chest cavity; they can suck this brain case back into their chest, where protective articulated ribs can close across it. Qinks have extremely complex cardiovascular systems. Qinks sell dresses and guns as part of their culture. They are immune to the effects of mind probes. Skags and Skagettes have jet-black skin and hail from a desert world. They are tall and graceful with six fingers on each hand. The Lacaillans are from a world were it rains all the time. Jeopards are cat-men from the planet Jeopardy.
The Joseph Conrad is a colony ship ten kilometres in diameter, built by the Listeners. The Listeners were the inhabitants of the planet Viam, on the rim of the Empire. They fled their planet before the Empire reached it, leaving three unfinished colony ships in orbit. Their name derives from the fact that they used to monitor the human emission sphere and so were warned of the oncoming Empire, which is why they fled. Viam was terraformed shortly after by the Empire, but the remaining structures and artefacts were preserved for study. The Joseph Conrad travels from the heart of the Empire to Viam and back again in a continual two-year journey. The Empire uses it as a space station, with two thousand permanent residents, mostly merchants and their families.
Links: FLORANCE first appeared in SLEEPY, as did Yemaya 4. ElleryCorp was first mentioned in Love and War, and again in Lucifer Rising and Original Sin. The Doctor mentions the Quoth (The Death of Art). An N-Form first appeared in Damaged Goods. The Daleks are mentioned. The Imperial Landsknechte, Purgatory and the Overcities and Undertowns appeared in Original Sin, as did Doc Dantalion, who is mentioned here. There is a reference to IMC (Colony in Space, Lucifer Rising). Sontarans are mentioned. There is a book entitled Greed Incorporated: The Rise of the Space Corporations by M. Ashe (Mary Ashe from Colony in Space). Mogarian sculptures are meant to be touched (Trial of a Time Lord episodes 9 to 12).
The datascape contains alien hardware from dead civilizations, which AIs can access; these include Exxilon caches (Death to the Daleks) and redundant Cybermen cores. A reality bubble is a very sophisticated software trap developed by the Hoothi and propagated through the Church of the Vacuum (Love and War). Kinderbots are personalized education bots, often augmented by wealthy families to act as bodyguards. Riban boys with hormonally retarded bodies work as prostitutes in the Empire (The Ribos Operation) as do Argolins (The Leisure Hive) and girls from Segonax (The Greatest Show in the Galaxy). Roz crushes a N-Form with a block of dwarf-star alloy (Warriors' Gate). Chris recalls flying an experimental Nazi plane (Just War). The Doctor says "unlimited rice pudding", a reference to his speech to Davros in Remembrance of the Daleks, and also refers to the destruction of Skaro. He also quotes his Third incarnation (" 'Boney', I said, 'an army marches on its stomach' ") and mentions Professor Blinovitch (Day of the Daleks). The Doctor mentions Benny's wedding (Happy Endings). Planets in the Empire include the Androzanis (The Caves of Androzani), Solos (The Mutants), and the Sense-Sphere (The Sensorites). There is a reference to a transit station in the Undertown (Transit). Chris recalls the time he kissed Roz (Return of the Living Dad). There is a reference to Sloathes (Sky Pirates!). The Doctor wonders if one of his alternative selves managed to stop Kopyion destroying the Seven Planets (The Pit). The Doctor mentions Fenric (The Curse of Fenric). An alternative Doctor had his throat torn out by a werewolf (The Greatest Show in the Galaxy). Huitzilin successfully possessed one alternative (The Left-Handed Hummingbird). A Lacaillan first appeared in Return of the Living Dad.
Location: Earth; Kibero Patera on Io, the city of Fury on the Zhongjian plateau on Aegisthus, Iphigenia, Cassandra, Janus, Tethys, and Callisto, 22nd February 2981 to 28th August 2982; The Umtata Reclamation Zone in Africa, 1st September 2982.
Future History: Sting goes into politics and is assassinated in the early twenty-first century. Prince founds a religion.
The Empress' coronation took place c.2850. There was a local war in the Alps in 2547. The Chek Lak Kok spaceport was nuked during the Wars of Acquisition. The Imperial Landsknechte fought the Aspenal Campaign in 2970. The Empire conquered Jeopardy and its neighbouring world in 2972, exterminating every single one of the Jithrai. There is a special psychiatric complex on Dis (Original Sin). There are oxygen factories on Lacaille 8760.
Hithis is given back to the Hiths in 2975 following the "great disaster", which resulted in widespread murder and destruction and exposed corruption throughout the Empire (Original Sin). The band "Hiths With Attitude" went back to Hithis and changed their name to "Totally Cheerful and Utterly Smug".
The Doctor assassinates the Empress on 3rd June 2982 at her request. By 2982, parts of Earth are being terraformed, to undo centuries of pollution (see Original Sin). Political factions in the solar system include the Antarctic Alliance and the Horne Collective. Reporters wear transmitters in their eyes, slid on over their pupils and turning their eyes green. They are supposed to be less intrusive than cameras. There is a university on Io. ElleryCorp has manufacturing plants on the planets Castus, Eridani and Asume. Television shows include My Family: Right or Wrong? The ancient ideals of the nobility on Tara have come under attack from the Liberal Reconstructionists (The Androids of Tara). There is a deep-space school for the military on Tethys. Mictlan is a planet renowned for dead people [it is either a burial planet or notorious for disease outbreaks]. There is an Earth Reptile Economic Confederation.
The Unitatus is a special army based on Earth, the job of which is to protect Earth against alien invasions (they are, of course, descended from UNIT) (see Cold Fusion). All Unitatus soldiers are also priests. The Empress allows them to keep their own fleet of ships and they sometimes fight alongside the main Imperial army.
AP seekers are marble-sized munitions that home in on the smell of human fear. Centillion sake is a drink from the Asumi habitat in Procorus and costs 200 schillings a shot.
Unrecorded Adventures: The [Seventh] Doctor once stopped the Jeopards invading their neighbouring planet, the home of the Jithrai, c2971. The JayJaxians once used a shutterfly to try and extract a psi embryo from him. The Doctor was in Zanzibar when Vasco da Gama sailed into the harbour in 1499.
The Bottom Line: "'Follow Me,' said Roz. She jumped over the rim and started running. And went up the hill into history." Having almost become the New Adventures' equivalent of Shada, So Vile a Sin was rescued by Kate Orman to become one of the quintessential books of the range. Since its delayed publication meant that Roz's death was no longer a surprise, the novel starts with her funeral, and then depicts the epic events leading up to it, tying up the psi-powers arc in the process and picking up plot threads from Original Sin. Despite any amount of foreknowledge, Roz's death still has enormous impact, making this one of the most emotionally involving books in the entire range.